Sick Puppies: Band plays to strengths on new album

The Los Angeles-based pop-rock trio Sick Puppies, two-thirds of which is Australian, didn’t want to squander its chance to follow up its popular 2009 album, “Tri-Polar,” with another winner.

“Tri-Polar” sold nearly half a million units. Singles from the album, including the rock-radio hits “You’re Going Down,” “Riptide,” “Odd One” and “Maybe,” reached sales of 2 million.

Featuring singer-guitarist Shimon Moore and singer-bassist Emma Anzai, who co-founded Sick Puppies in 1999 while they were still in high school, and Mark Goodwin, a drummer from Orange County, Calif., the band put a year into writing songs for its new album, “Connect.”

“After a successful album, our record label was behind us,” Moore said last month, three weeks into the band’s latest tour. “They gave us the time to make the best record we could make at that point in time.”

The 12 songs on “Connect” were picked from a pool of the 100 prospects.

“The best songs made themselves known,” Moore said. “There was a bit of a debate, but not much, not as much as for the previous record.”

Released July 16, “Connect” debuted on the Billboard 200 album chart at No. 17, a career high for Sick Puppies.

“The label had a bunch of projections,” Moore recalled. “I wasn’t really concerned about the projections, but I was glad when we hit them.”

Moore wasn’t worried about how music critics would react to “Connect.”

“I really can’t comment on the critics, but the fans are all loving it,” he said.

The band is playing about five songs from “Connect” on tour.

“Everything is really good,” Moore said of the tour. “The main thing is people are singing the songs. That’s how we can tell if it’s working and if we made the right choices.”

One difference between “Connect” and previous Sick Puppies albums is the increased amount of singing that Anzai does.

“The fans, they asked for it,” Moore said. “We listen to our fans. They all love hearing Emma sing, so from the beginning of writing for the album, we’d write songs and see if they were right for her voice. The songs that worked made it on the record.”

Moore doesn’t miss singing lead for every song.

“Honestly, I’m happy to take a break,” he said.

Previously signed to Virgin Records, Sick Puppies moved to sister EMI label Capitol Records for “Connect.” Capitol, of course, is the American label whose legacy of recorded music includes the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys, Garth Brooks and many more. Katy Perry and Emeli Sandé are among the label’s contemporary stars.

Moore and his bandmates are often at the landmark Capitol Records building in Hollywood, Calif.

“It is really cool,” Moore said. “But it’s actually smaller than it looks, because it’s a circular building. You walk around it and you’re back to where you started before you know it. It was kind of weird the first few times we were there because the building is so iconic, but you get used to it. It becomes the place where you go to work.”